How Long Should Your Explainer Video Be?

The length of time it takes to explain a product or concept can vary considerably; but even more important to the length of your explainer video is viewer engagement.

The length of your explainer video will make a significant difference to how many people watch it to the end.

Also, it is not just the length, but what you do with that length that matters.

Those early seconds count

The first several seconds of a video are crucial to drawing viewers in. Research has shown that this is where many viewers make an impulsive decision of whether to continue watching.

Visible Measures published results that suggest that once engagement is obtained in these early seconds, many viewers will in fact stay considerably longer.

The first key then, is to captivate viewers early.

The findings indicate that 20% of viewers will give up watching a video within 10 seconds; 45% will click away within a minute; and 60% will stop watching before two minutes is over.

Keep it short

Wistia released data in 2012 that confirms the idea that shorter video is more effective at retaining viewers.

Explainer videos will often need to be longer than advertisements to get the required message across, but you should keep in mind that the longer your video, the higher the likelihood of losing viewers.

Wistia figures suggest that 12% more visitors will watch your video to the end if it’s under a minute in duration, rather than up to two minutes long.

It’s therefore suggested that you keep your explainer video under two minutes long.

An explainer video often needs to communicate a detailed message, so it can’t be too short. A length of between 45 and 90 seconds is considered optimal.

A lot can be communicated in a short time using the combination of music, voiceover, images and special effects that video offers.

You may need to use few words to keep within a short timeframe, but the use of visuals can make up for this, and can often help to explain things more quickly.

Try to hold back from information overload, as there is the risk of overwhelming your audience and causing them to stop watching.

Video series

If you have a lot to explain, and this is likely to extend beyond two minutes, then it can be more beneficial to put this information into two (or more) shorter videos, which form a series.

Instead of making an explainer video that is three minutes long, consider breaking it down into two videos of 90 seconds each, or three videos of 60 seconds each.

Online visitors in particular will be more likely to watch a video to the end if it is within 45 to 90 seconds long.

Wistia results suggest that the longer the video, the higher the drop off rate in the first several seconds of watching. Others might not even start watching if they think it’s too long.

To learn more, viewers can then move on to the next video in the series.

Quality content is key

Keeping your video short won’t give you guaranteed viewings and results.

Within this short time you need to appeal to and engage your target audience.

Some explainer videos will be sought out by consumers, in which case they will be more likely to stay watching until they get the information they require.

But explainer videos will often need to grab viewers’ attention to keep them watching.

Therefore, high-quality content and script writing are very important.

Achieving this in a short time will depend partly on choosing the appropriate medium and method.

Whiteboard animation is a very popular tool for making explainer videos quickly and efficiently.

Cut to the call-to-action

Dragging out your call-to-action will only waste precious time, so once you've expressed what's needed in an engaging way, cut to the chase.

Wistia results indicate that another common leaving point for viewers is towards the end of a video, before or during the call-to-action.

If viewers click away before your call-to-action, this could defeat the whole purpose of the video.

Try to always be clear with your explanation as well as what you would like viewers to do next.

Whether you’d like the consumer to register for a trial package or watch another video, be direct. This will save time and give the video a strong ending.

ComScore findings in 2013 indicate that, on average, a web user watches 32.3 videos per month. They will not watch all of them to the end, however.

Making your video between 45 to 90 seconds long, depending on its required complexity, can increase the chances of your video being one of those watched – and watched to the end.

Contact us to discuss your explainer video requirements, or complete our enquiry form here.